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Worried About Flooding? Maybe You Need A Floating House Like This One In The UK
December 2, 2012
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When flooding hits, there's not much homeowners can do, except hope that the water doesn't cause too much property damage.

But things would be very different if their homes could float.

British authorities have granted an architecture firm permission to build the country's first "amphibious house" on the banks of the River Thames.

When the river rises, the house will float up with it. No flood damage, no worries.

There are already examples of floating houses in other countries, like this home on Lake Huron in Ontario.


But with the severe flooding that has hit the UK recently, the idea of a house that can withstand the effects of rising water is particularly attractive there.

Here's how it works: the bottom of the house includes pontoon-like hollow chambers made of wood and concrete that allow it to float.

The structure is held in place by four vertical posts sunk deep into the ground - and all the pipes and ducts coming into the house are flexible, so they'll keep working even during a flood.

When there's no flooding, the building sits a little below the ground's surface in a kind of dock lined with retaining walls.

When flood waters hit, they're channeled down into the dock to fill the chamber where the house rests.


Once enough water gathers below the house, the whole structure floats upward. But it stays attached to those four posts, so it won't actually float away.

The house was designed by UK firm Baca Architects, who looked to the Dutch for inspiration. A lot of the Netherlands sits below sea level (hence the country's name), and the Dutch are pioneers in floating house technology.

A few years back, a Dutch firm built a few floating houses outside of Amsterdam, and another design house there is working on a multi-unit floating apartment complex.


But floating houses aren't the only technology UK designers are exploring as the country faces severe floods. UK entrepreneur Richard Bailey has designed lightweight "sandless sandbags" to replace the heavy bags people rely on now.

And these sandbags also absorb water, meaning they can even be used as part of the clean up operations in a home that has already flooded.


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